A Model Response: GCSE Non-Fiction Writing

Mobile phones should be banned from the classroom as they are nothing but a distraction’.

Write an article in which you persuade people of your point of view.

Dialling 999: An Emergency in Education

Imagine, if you will, a class of thirty students. Imagine you’re the teacher. It’s Monday, Period One and you’re trying to teach Shakespeare’s Hamlet. You’re just about to launch into an eloquent and beautifully constructed analysis of the poetry of his soliloquies when you look up. Do you see eager faces? Do you see poised pens ready to furiously write? Do you see bums on the edge of their seats? No. No. And no. Instead you see thirty pairs of eyes glued to thirty mobile phones.  

Mobile phones should absolutely be banned from classrooms as they are a constant source of distraction. A recent 2016 survey conducted by John Jones at the University of Oxford discovered that a shocking 89% of students look at their phone at least once during a lesson, with 74% conceding they look at it several times. We must ask ourselves, how much learning is actually taking place in these classrooms? Surely, not very much. I appreciate very much that phones can be used to research important facts and, yes, having a world of knowledge at our fingertips can only be a good thing, but at what cost?  

This issue is especially relevant now given the ostensible collapse of the education sector and the recent downward trend in examination results. It is more important than ever to ensure our students are being taught in the most effective environment possible. With the advent of Twitter, Insta (as I’m told it’s called), Snapchat and WhatsApp, students enter a lesson with hundreds of other things on their mind. This cannot be conducive to learning. The complexity of a Shakespearean sonnet or the geopolitics of the Cold War or the mechanics of quantum physics demands concerted intellectual effort, something not possible with the incessant twittering of a thousand pocket-sized virtual friends.  

I say to you, then, we need to ban mobiles from classrooms with immediate effect and for the benefit of our entire society. Children are, after all, our future and their learning ought to be sacrosanct. It is no longer possible to allow students to be overwhelmingly inundated by social media when they ought to be learning. Yes, they will complain, but it is important to act now and the only way to do this is to ban them unilaterally.  

Here, then, is the thought with which I wish to leave you: less Twitter, more Shakespeare.

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